Hangover Kid Strikes Late in Bowling Green
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 7/12/2014 6:38:00 PM
Last Updated: 7/13/2014 2:30:14 PM
Hangover Kid comes up the inside to win the Bowling Green over Grandeur.
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Hangover Kid, surging along the inside in the final furlong, produced a head-bobbing victory over odds-on Grandeur in the $200,000 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT), the 6-year-old's first graded stakes score July 12 at Belmont Park (VIDEO).
Contested at 1 1/2 miles on the Widener turf course, Hangover Kid was ridden to victory by Jose Lezcano at odds of 9-2 for trainer Jason Servis and owner Four Taps Stable. Appreciating the longer distance and able to draft off an exceedingly slow pace while saving ground over firm going, the son of Lemon Drop Kid was able to get up by a head over the heavy favorite.
Behind a final time of 2:28.18, Sky Blazer was three-quarters of a length farther back in third.
Bred in New York by Steve Taglienti out of the unraced Rakeen mare Absolute Patience, Hangover Kid signaled his readiness Saturday when he closed much ground in his most recent start, the nine-furlong Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIT) in New Jersey June 8, to finish second.
"It was thrilling; I wish I could have been there," said Servis, speaking by phone. "I felt really good having Lezcano on him; he's been riding unbelievable. The only thing I told him is ride him like you own him."
"We'd like to go to the Breeders' Cup (Turf) with him. This race, being a graded stakes, got him points. I don't know where he'll go next, but the Breeders' Cup is the ultimate goal."
Run in recent years as the opening weekend stakes at Belmont's fall meet, the Bowling Green was lengthened to 1 1/2 miles from 10 furlongs this season and contested as the final graded stakes of the spring/summer stand.
Well covered in third in the field of six, Hangover Kid tracked pacesetter Horvat Clan through a crawling half-mile in :51.93 and a 1:42.03 mile, with Boisterous racing second on the outside and the Irish-bred Grandeur right behind in fourth.
Always outside, Grandeur angled four wide under Joel Rosario leaving the quarter pole to challenge for the lead, bumping with Boisterous in upper stretch before kicking on to take a slight lead midstretch. That bump created a seam for Hangover Kid, rallying outside the fading Horvat Clan, to challenge. Hangover Kid got his head in front at the sixteenth pole and got the nod in a furious finish with the determined Grandeur.
"I know the pace was slow, and (Servis) told me to keep him right there," Lezcano said. "When I asked him, he gave me a very good kick. I prayed it would open up for me, and when (Boisterous) went out a little bit, my horse took off."
Sky Blazer was a willing third with Rajiv Maragh aboard, finishing half a length in front of Boisterous, with Reflecting and Horvat Clan completing the order of finish.
Hangover Kid carried 115 pounds, seven fewer than the highweight Grandeur, and paid $11.40, $3.90, and $3 as the third choice. Grandeur returned $2.50 and $2.10 as the tough-luck loser for trainer Jeremy Noseda, completing a $26 exacta at 3-5 odds. Sky Blazer paid $4.40 to show.
Hangover Kid, who was also second in the Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) last November at Aqueduct Racetrack, ran his career line to 7-7-3 in 24 starts with earnings $625,203. The bay is 3-for-6 over Belmont's Widener course. His only prior stakes win came in the West Point over state-breds last August on a good inner turf at Saratoga Race Course.
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